Monday Mornings with Madison

Traits to Avoid When Hiring a New Employee

According to a survey by Monster.com of 639 small business owners in the U.S., it cost an average of $6,480 for small business owners to replace a “wrong hire” in 2015.  That estimate is on the low end of the spectrum.  The U.S. Department of Labor estimates it can cost on average one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to find a replacement.  Others believe it’s even higher than that. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it can cost up to five times a wrong hire’s annual salary, depending on the circumstances. The person’s position, how long that person was in that position, and the size of the company all contribute to this cost.   According to SHRM, a “wrong hire” at a big company earning $80,000 per year (having been in that job over a year) could cost up to $400,000 to replace.  And the “wrong hire” of a CEO in a national company can cost millions to replace. Continue reading

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10 Invaluable Qualities in Employees that require Zero Talent – Part 2

When looking to hire employees, managers often confuse talents, skills, knowledge and strengths.  A talent is an innate ability, while a skill is an ability that is learned and nurtured over time.   A person might be a naturally-gifted writer even while never having taken any kind of writing class.  That is a talent.  That same person might also take a course in online advertising and attain the Google Adwords Certification.  That is a skill.  If that person attends a college and takes a host of classes in business, sales and marketing, that person attains knowledge – and perhaps a degree – in business administration.  If that person then gets a job in which she is using her writing talents, online marketing skills, and sales and marketing knowledge, over time this will become her strength.  A strength is the ability to consistently produce a positive outcome through superior performance of specific tasks.   When a company recruits and hires staff, it looks for people who have particular talents, skills and knowledge. Continue reading

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10 Invaluable Qualities in Employees that require Zero Talent – Part 1

In the search for top talent, employers typically cite the most difficult, technical skills needed to do the job.  For instance, a current ad on LinkedIn for a CFO seeks a candidate with:  “Extensive experience in financial analysis, identification of month end financial drivers, and forecasting.”  The ad adds that the right candidate will “drive growth through product diversification and geographic expansion, and provide leadership and vision for all finance-related activities in the market, including developing and monitoring progress against Annual Operating Plan.”  This ad is designed to filter out the unqualified and underqualified.    But what the ad doesn’t address are the soft skills and qualities that ensure the candidate fits well with the organization.  Those are either touched on during the interview process briefly or are not addressed at all.  And while the inability to do the job does account for why some people fail at their jobs, most people are fired or laid off from jobs due either to personality traits or work habits that don’t fit with the employer. Continue reading

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Dealing with Buyer’s Remorse

The very recent vote by Great Britain to leave the European Union – dubbed by media as the Brexit — has sent shock waves through financial markets, political institutions, and businesses worldwide.  Despite polls prior to the election indicating that the vote to leave would prevail, the world was taken seemingly by surprise when it came to pass.  The pound sterling tumbled to a 31-year low.  British political parties were thrown into upheaval.  Stock markets around the globe took dives.  And the fall out is far from over.  But, apparently, many who voted to leave the E.U. are now saying that they wish they could take back their vote.  Kelvin Mackenzie, a columnist for the British Sun newspaper which backed the leave, said he was suffering from “buyer’s remorse,” regretting his vote.  He was not alone.   Emily Tierney, a columnist for the Independent newspaper, wrote “If I could take my vote back now, I would. I’m ashamed of myself.”   They are not alone.  A Survation poll carried out for the Mail on Sunday after the Brexit vote found that of the 17.4 million who voted to leave, 1.1 million say that they wish they had voted Remain.  Given that the leave vote prevailed by only 4% of the votes cast – or 1.2 million votes — that is a monumental case of Buyer’s Remorse. Continue reading

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To Sleep Perchance to Succeed

Part 2 – Sleep and Work

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with increased risk for diabetes, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality.  It also can contribute to heart disease, and increases a person’s likelihood to catch a cold and/or develop an infection.  Obviously, all of these health issues affect punctuality, absenteeism, and morale.   Excessive absences result in decreased productivity and can have a major effect on company finances. Continue reading

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To Sleep Perchance to Thrive and Succeed

Part 1 – Sleep and Health

For many professionals, travel is a regular part of life.  Networking conferences.  Meetings with clients.   Training sessions.  Visits to regional offices, stores or plants.  And when work stops, vacations typically mean even more travel.  While many people consider business and personal travel a luxury and privilege, those who travel often know that travel has its drawbacks.   Besides the inevitable transportation hassles that come with getting there and back, there are other factors that make travel challenging.  Lack of sleep is one of the biggest challenges. Continue reading

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Core Values: Establishing and Executing

What does the company stand for?  Where does it fit in this world?  What are its’ “ways” of doing things?  The answer to those questions is what lies at the heart of any company’s core values.  Apple’s core value – established by Steve Jobs – was that people with passion can change the world.  When they launched the Mac computer, their campaign slogan was “Think Different.”  Their advertisements didn’t show computers.  In fact, their ads had nothing to do with their product.   It was about people who had changed the world.  Likewise, the core value for milk – represented by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council for what is the quintessential commodity – is that milk is good for you, which some argue is not even true.  Their most famous advertising campaign — based on their core value — was “Got Milk?”, which also did not show the product.  It actually showed the absence of the product, but the core value was clear. Continue reading

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Core Values: Creating Values that are Genuine, Bold and Unwavering – Part 2

For a business to thrive, genuine core values are invaluable!  Core values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees. But fake core values generate a cynicism that poisons the cultural well and wastes a great opportunity. The problem is that coming up with strong values—and sticking to them—requires a high degree of fortitude and grit… real moxie.  Indeed, an organization considering a core values initiative must first come to terms with the fact that, when properly practiced, values can inflict pain. They can make some employees feel like outcasts. They can limit an organization’s strategic and operational freedom and constrain the behavior of its people.  They could leave executives open to heavy criticism for even minor violations. And they demand constant vigilance.  In other words, it takes work for a business to have meaningful core values.  Companies unwilling to accept the pain of real core values shouldn’t bother going to the trouble of formulating a values statement. Continue reading

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Core Values: The Heart of any Business – Part 1

Change is a fact of life and an inherent part of business.  With technology, the relentless pace of change has accelerated forcing businesses to either catch up or keep up.  Companies are compelled to evolve with the times.  Phone companies evolved from switchboards and rotary phones to smart phones with data plans.   Record producers evolved from phonographs and vinyl records to digital downloads and playlists.  Car manufacturers evolved from hand-cranked motor cars in one-color models to keyless ignition vehicles with self-driving engines in most every shape, size and color. Change is indeed unrelenting, affecting almost every aspect of business.  Almost. Continue reading

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The Six Keys to Fulfillment and Work-Life Balance

In the U.S., work consumes a huge part of most people’s lives.  In 2014, 40% of all U.S. employees worked an average of 40 hours per week, not including the time it takes to get ready to go to work and the commute to and from work.  But the majority worked even more.  A Gallup report released in 2014 showed the average time worked by full-time employees had ticked up to 46.7 hours a week, or nearly a full extra eight-hour day.  And salaried employees worked an average of 49 hours per week.  In fact, 50% of all U.S. employees work between 40 and 60 hours per week, not including prep or commute time.  And for business owners and top-level professionals, a work week consumes upwards of 60-80 hours.  Since a week has just 168 hours and the average person sleeps from 35-60 hours a week (depending on the person), for many people there isn’t time for much else. Continue reading

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